4 Things B2B Marketers Must Do in 2012
For many B2B marketers 2011 was a challenging year. Given the current fuzzy economic climate 2012 will be no walk in the park. You will have another year of justifying every expense, every marketing programs. There are 4 things you can do to make 2012 a great year for yourself.
Get Acquainted With Your MarketToo many B2B marketers know so little about the markets they serve. They know a lot about their products, but they know very little about the problems they solve for buyers. Do you talk about buyers from your point of view (features in your products) or from their point of view (their problems you solve). There is no way you can gain knowledge of your buyers by sitting in your office or talking to your salespeople or resident subject matter expert. You need to get out of your office and interact with real potential buyers, in the wild, in their native habitat. Make a commitment to have a conversation with 5 buyers each month. Develop Buyer Personas for buyers you are having trouble reaching or connecting with. Encourage your marketing colleagues to doing the same.
Get to Know Your Sales ChannelsAs you develop a deeper understanding of your buyers, you understand what they value and how to effectively communicate to them. What about the people who sell your products? You can’t assume they have the same understanding of buyers. Salespeople focus on individual transactions. You need a perspective on the entire market. Make a commitment to do 4 “ride alongs” each month. Instead of complaining that your salespeople don’t use the presentations you develop for them, find out why because there is a reason. Why do salespeople eagerly sell some products but ignore others?
Get Clarity on What Your Management Cares AboutB2B marketers complain that their management team changes priorities. Maybe the problem is a lack of clarity on how management is keeping score. A “do this, not that” reaction stems from a lack of confidence that the marketing team is tracking toward the right goal. Hint: generating more “leads” is not a goal management cares about. They care about selling more stuff. Understanding management goals helps you prioritize marketing projects and gives you a firm footing to push back on requests that don’t support the goals. Make a commitment to meet with members of your management team to document their most important goals for 2012. Then meet with your marketing team to translate those goals into actions. Let’s face it. You’re marketing some products that shouldn’t see the light of day and others that desperately need your help.
Measure, Test, and Measure AgainWhen you understand the goals that management cares about, you can relate everything that your marketing team does to those goals. There is no guesswork. A missing ingredient is demonstrating how the marketing team is supporting those goals. Measure everything and amplify those things that are working. Test everything: different landing pages, different copy, different images, different messages. Lather, rinse, repeat. Build testing into everything you do. Make a commitment to choose a small set of meaningful metrics that demonstrate how you are delivering against the goals your management team cares about. If the care about revenue then you should be reporting on metrics that support revenue (growth in the pipeline, market share, customer renewals, etc.)
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